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Coaching Hires Get Tougher as Summer Approaches

No school really cherishes looking for a new head football coach. Either your last coach left to take another job, retired, or the school asked him to leave. There are usually hurt feelings on one or both sides and lives are suddenly in turmoil.

For the seniors on the team, they must often adapt to a completely new system for their last high school campaign.

That gets magnified more when the change occurs late. Late is different things to different people, but if your coaching change is not completed until after spring break, time is a critical factor.

Spring practice and summer workouts are near. It gets increasingly hard to hire quality assistant coaches. Many years ago it was common for assistant coaches to be hired and move late in the summer months. Prior to the 1990’s, rules prohibited anything but weight lifting in the summer. There was even a time in the 1970’s that players were allowed to lift, but coaches could not be in the weight room with them. So football didn’t really kick up until the first of August. It was not unusual for teams to hire assistants and they move and come to work in the latter part of July.

With the advent of summer practices in June and July, assistants are hired in May and come to work as soon as possible in the summer. Head coaches may have to get by for a month without their offensive line coach or defensive coordinator who is finishing up at another school and trying to get his family moved. Teams may even have to wait on a board meeting to get that coach hired. It is also possible that you might lose an important member of your staff in June and then have to scramble to find a coach.

When the head coach moves late, it can be an organizational nightmare. Setting policies, spring practice, summer workouts, hiring coaches, organizing physicals, transportation, 7 on 7 competitions, clothing and uniforms–the list is endless. Not to mention the fact that everyone most likely will have to learn a new offensive or defensive scheme or system.

And it also increases the chances that a quality assistant coach might get an opportunity for that head job. Hiring from within decreases the amount of change within the program, and creates a more comfort level for everyone involved.

When Keith Etheredge was hired as the coach at Oxford, he left T.R. Miller right before the start of spring practice. He reported immediately to Oxford, being hired on a Friday and starting spring practice the following Monday. “What I’ll do those first few days is let them proceed how they would normally do it,” Etheredge said. “I’ll just sort of be there. Talk to the kids. Then implement some of my stuff as we go. I’m not going to turn around and get approved Friday and have them implement a bunch of my stuff on Monday.”

T.R. Miller started spring practice with an interim coach on the staff, and by the last couple of days had a new head man in Brent Hubbert from Maplesville. The Tigers played a spring intra squad game on Friday, and Hubbert came to watch. He has a few short days to finish his job at Maplesville, find a house and move his family. He must then organize his coaches, set his summer work schedule with players and coaches and attend to the many details that have to be worked out with school officials, parents and a booster club.

Hubbert is the third new hire for T.R. Miller in three years, Three different head coaches, three different philosophies. But he plans on keeping his beliefs simple, using much of what he learned at Maplesville.

“We’ve got to get everyone excited about football,” he said. “I know we want to win. I know the community wants state titles. Before we get to that point, we’ve got to get the kids excited about going to work. It’s going to be fun. We will make sure our effort is relentless and we are having fun.”

The dominoes keep falling, and it is now Maplesville’s turn to hire a coach. One month ago, the Red Devils had no idea they would be in the coaching market. With their great winning tradition, coaches will want to come to Maplesville. Can they find the right fit and continue their winning ways?

The first official day of practice is Monday, August 5th. Oxford opens their season August 23rd against Munford. T.R. Miller starts their season Friday, August 30th on the road at Choctaw County and Maplesville opens August 23rd at home against Fultondale.


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